Posts Tagged With: Quentin Blake

Boy, Roald Dahl – Book Review

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Title: Boy
Author: Roald Dahl
Genre: nonfiction, autobiography
Order in series: Book # 1
Release Date: 1984
Length:  219 pages

Synopsis

In Boy, Roald Dahl recounts his days as a child growing up in England. From his years as a prankster at boarding school to his envious position as a chocolate tester for Cadbury’s, Roald Dahl’s boyhood was as full of excitement and the unexpected as are his world-famous, best-selling books. Packed with anecdotes — some funny, some painful, all interesting — this is a book that’s sure to please.

1st sentence

An autobiography is a book a person writes about his own life and it is usually full of all sorts of boring details.
This is not an autobiography. I would never write a history of myself.

What made me get it and thoughts on the cover

What — An interest in reading the memories and thoughts of an author who wrote many children’s books that became classics, that lots of other writers get inspired from his works.

The cover — Love the green and blue. We also have an illustration of a young Roald Dahl in school.

My thoughts

Even though Roald Dahl insists that this book isn’t an autobiography, it is exactly that but with some of his magical touches that he adds to the stories he creates. He narrates some random events through his childhood in a way that makes you feel like you’re reading a fiction rather than a non-fiction.

We get to see his love of sweets and chocolate ever since he was just a kid. He was a mischievous kid at times, but a boy with a dream, a dream to have wild adventures in different countries (don’t we all?)

Reading this made me thank God I wasn’t attending school around the time he did. The schooling system was terrible. I mean, hitting students and the army-strict rules is complete nonsense! It seems that their only target was to discipline the students in being quiet without any opinions and the hell with the knowledge.

I admired his mother’s personality. She raised her own kids and the kids from her husband’s previous marriage all on her own and gave them a proper education and  would always take them to their annual vacation to Norway even though it was very hard and long to travel then – as described in the book. 

Overall          

An entertaining memoir for all ages. There’s even some snippets of the letters he used to send his mom as a kid (some are unclear and hard to read from being too old but they’re there).       5/5 stars

Two hours of writing fiction leaves this particular writer absolutely drained. For those two hours he has been miles away, he has been somewhere else, in a different place with totally different people, and the effort of swimming back into normal surroundings is very great. It is almost a shock. The writer walks out of his workroom in a daze. 

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The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, Roald Dahl – Book Review

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Title: The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
Author: Roald Dahl
Genre: children’s book, classic, humor
Release Date: 1985
Length: 73 pages

Synopsis

A small boy with a desire to own a candy shop meets a window-washing team of a giraffe, a pelican, and a monkey and together they go to work for the wealthy Duke of Hampshire, who makes all their dreams come true.

1st sentence

Not far from where I live there is a queer old empty wooden house standing all by itself on the side of the road. I long to explore inside it but the door is always locked, and when I peer through a window all I can see is darkness and dust.  

What made me get it and thoughts on the cover

What — Well since my little brother enjoyed the first Roald Dahl book I read him he asked for more, so I guess we’ll make our way through the rest of the books till he gets bored then I’ll finish reading whatever is left. He also wanted a short story this time and he picked this one. 

The cover — All the main characters are crammed in the cover in a very nice way and I love the combination color of green and orange.
The book in the box set has black and white illustrations but I’ve read that The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me is also available as a picture book with colors. 

My thoughts

This is such a sweet and short read about a boy named Billy and the new friends he meets at an abandoned building that used to be a sweet-shop that he’s been admiring for some time. He meets a giraffe, a pelican and a monkey (the ‘Me’ in the title. The monkey keeps on singing and one of the lines he sings is “The giraffe and the  pelly and me!”) and all four start a window washing business, through which they get to work for the Duke who’s quite loud and bossy but ends up giving the 3 animals and the boy everything they desire. 

My little brother loved the part with the thief who stole the duchess’ jewelry and the way she reacted with her loud opera voice.
As for me, I really liked the reference to Willy Wonka’s Factory (from the author’s famous book: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). In the book Billy asks the Duke for his help to make the building he admires into a candy shop and so he does and Billy orders candy and chocolate from all over the world, which also includes special candy form Wonka’s factory and I loved that Dahl included that here. 

Overall          

A nice story to read to little kids. There aren’t lots of funny moments in this book but you’ll enjoy Dahl’s writing and of course Quentin Blake’s marvelous illustrations.    4/5 stars

The Giraffe stooped low and went out through the tall door. The Monkey jumped off the window-sill on to the Giraffe’s back. The Pelican, with me in his beak hanging on for dear life, flew across and perched on the very top of the Giraffe’s head. And away we went.

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The Enormous Crocodile, Roald Dahl – Book Review

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Title: The Enormous Crocodile
Author: Roald Dahl
Genre: children’s book, picture book
Release Date: November 1, 1978
Length: 60 pages

Synopsis

The ENORMOUS CROCODILE is planning what to have for his lunch.
This FOUL FIEND – the greediest croc in the whole river – wants to eat something JUICY and DELICIOUS.
His TEETH sparkle like knives in the sun and he’s getting HUNGRIER and HUNGRIER.
But what can the greedy, grumptious BRUTE guzzle up?
BEWARE! He’s looking for someone …
someone that looks a lot like YOU …

1st sentence

In the biggest, brownest muddiest river in Africa, two crocodiles lay with their heads just above the water. One of the crocodiles was enormous. The other was not so big.

What made me get it and thoughts on the cover

What — Well, we were in a bookstore and my brother was going through Roald Dahl’s books saying “we have this and this and this…” then he spotted The Enormous Crocodile -which isn’t included in the Roald Dahl box set I have- and said “What’s that? Why don’t we have this? look, there’s colors inside … get it .. GET IT NOW.” so, I had no choice but to get it after making him promise to listen to the whole book or else I’m returning it.

The cover — Unlike the books in the box set, the cover of this book has some parts -the book title, author’s name and the crocodile- popped out of the cover a little. Also, the inside of the cover includes the synopsis written in yellow with a red background while the inside of the back contains a collage of 16 of Roald Dahl’s books.
The cover is quite creepy with the kids scared of one hungry crocodile. 

My thoughts

This book follows a crocodile who decides to leave the river in search of juicy children to eat. During his search he encounters different animals who are disgusted by the crocodile’s plans. Later in the story, wherever children are surrounded, the enormous crocodile would disguise himself in many funny, and at times, unbelievable forms in order to attack and eat them. But with each time, he gets his hidden identity discovered by one of the animal characters he’d met before.

Here, Roald Dahl repeats some words over and over (like: enormous, tricks, plans…etc) which helps kids learn that word by heart after they’re done with the story, without even being aware of it themselves. So in a way, the kids will enjoy the funny incidents in the book and learn a few words along the way. 

Some characters mentioned here I’ve seen before in Dahl’s other book The Twits (The Roly-Poly Bird and Muggle-Wump the monkey). So it felt nice seeing characters that we’ve seen in a book we previously read show up here too.

Overall          

A beautiful book with colors that will entertain all children. I also loved it as well.  4.5/5 stars

“I have secret plans and clever tricks,” said the Crocodile.
“You mean you’ve nasty plans and nasty tricks,” said Trunky. “You’ve never done a nice thing in your life.”
The Enormous Crocodile grinned up at Trunky and said:
“I’m off to find a yummy
child for lunch.
Keep listening and you’ll hear
the bones go crunch!”

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